DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
People are down on next-gen remasters of games from the generations previous, but there are some bright sides to this. For one thing, it allows you to play something in brand new, beautiful ultra HD. For two, it allows you to catch up on a sleeper hit you might not have played when it first came out. And of course, the remaster will come bundled with any additional content for the game, skins, DLC, or whatever. Ninja Theory, thankfully, has re-released their 2013 game DmC: Devil May Cry with the base game and the epilogue DLC, “Vergil’s Downfall”.
For those of you that missed out on the game when it first came out, DmC is a reboot of Capcom’s famous spectacle fighter franchise Devil May Cry. Instead of the cocky, white-haired, pizza eating Dante from the previous four games, the reboot puts you in the shoes of the cocky, dark-haired, pizza eating Dante. If you’re a diehard fan put off by the lack of white hair, know that Ninja Theory shares your sympathies insofar as they have a short moment where Dante has a white wig on and then immediately laughs it off. The change overall to Dante is minimal; he still looks ridiculous with his wifebeater and stupidly long jacket, he gives off cheesy one-liners at every moment, still cocky even when facing off against something 15 times his size, and he’s still the son of Sparda.
The main difference on that end is that he’s also half-angel from his mother’s side and hunted by the demon king Mundus. His long lost brother Vergil brings him into his little demon rebellion group to kill Mundus and free the human race from his reign. The people are kept fat and willing thanks to an energy drink, and easily manipulated by a news network run by someone who
is definitely not looks like Bill O’Reilly. The game’s social satire comes out of nowhere and fits about as well in with everything else as an alligator does at a church sermon. There’s some chuckles to be had, but it clashes awkwardly with the game and Dante’s “give no shits” attitude. The small worldbuilding and mythology given during cutscenes is interesting, but it’s buried underneath a script that feels like it’s trying too hard to be “edgy” and “topical”, like a Very Special Episode of Law & Order: SVU.
Where the story stumbles, the gameplay shines. DmC maintains the fast, frenzied pace of the spectacle fighter genre the series has had over the past four installments. Parries, dodges, combos, and pauses are all par for the course here over the 20-mission campaign. There’s a fun variety of weapons to use gained over the course of the game. In particular, the two most useful ones are Osiris, an Angel scythe, and Eryx, a pair of demon gauntlets. The combat is where the game excels, and it’s both fun and disorienting switching from demon to demon, breaking sword combos to avoid a knife in the eye and smash a shield open with your Demon axe. Most of the upgrades you get at Divinity Statues are useful, particularly ones that give you an increased range on lunge attacks. Some may take some trial and error to perfect, like a Demon dodge roll. Fortunately, there’s a training room for you to test out all moves before you buy them, and that is something definitely recommended in order to make sure you want that upgrade.
Fans of the original Devil May Cry games were pissed as hell that the game was easier than its predecessors back in the day, so to that end, modifiers have been added. Turbo mode speeds up the game by 20%, which is something I forgot a few times in the heat of combat, but mainly exists to speed up one particular chapter where you’re stuck in Limbo and have to guide your friend Kat to safety. Each difficulty starting with Nephilim has a “hardcore” mode that changes enemy behavior, along with a modifier where they only take damage if you get ‘S’ rank or above. So if you’re looking for a real challenge, give that a stab (or a couple trillion). Without the modifiers, the game does feel a bit annoyingly easier than it did in 2013. Look no further than the boss fights for this; while they all look interesting visually (in particular a fight with Not Bill O’Reilly and a demon baby fetus), most of them require the ancient philosophies of “dodge their attacks, then wait for them to zone out and start wailing on their faces for two minutes”. The final boss fight is the most challenging because it requires you to constantly be on your toes, switching from offense to defense at a moment’s notice.
The remaster makes the transition from last-gen to current-gen basically unscathed. It still runs at a consistent framerate and looks great visually. The new resolution makes the faces look less like clay, which has always been an issue with Unreal engine games. Some cutscenes have been altered for time’s sake, and there’s an extra scene at the end of the game. The visual design is still pretty stellar, in particular a level set in a dance club set with colors across the rainbow spectrum. The monsters have good design and are all distinct from each other so you know exactly what you’re hitting and dodging. The biggest improvement comes in the form of a manual lock-on and completely customizable controls. The lock on is much appreciated, especially since it shows how much health the targeted enemy has left, but switching the camera to focus on other enemies is annoying and sometimes it rapidly switches to the point where you have no idea what’s going on. Controls are also something to be thankful for, just be sure to actually remember what your controls are. This is something that got me in hot water when I switched from the base game to Vergil’s Downfall and back again and completely forgot the controls I made up.